Basque Studies’ conference attracts international scholars

4/12/2010 - By: Skyler Dillon

Santiago de Pablo, a professor at the University of the Basque Country, is helping to expand understanding of Basque culture at the University of Nevada, Reno’s Center for Basque Studies. De Pablo, currently in residence at the Center as a Douglass Distinguished Scholar, is co-organizing its ninth annual conference, “War, Justice and Everyday Life, 1936-1946,” scheduled for April 15-16. The Center is welcoming more than 15 international scholars to share papers and lectures on World War II and the Spanish Civil War, including war crimes, the evacuation of the Basque country and the influence of wartime propaganda on Basque identity.

De Pablo’s research focuses on Basque political violence in film, and he will present “The Basque Country through the Nazi Looking Glass: A look at the film Im Lande der Basken (1944)” at the conference.

“The conference will allow the scholars to collaborate, to meet new people and to be exposed to new work,” he said. “It will benefit both [the Center and the participants].”

Presentations will be open to the public and will be held in the Basque library on the third floor of the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center. A moderator will oversee each lecture to ensure time for questions and discussion. The researchers will explore the collective memory of the Basque people regarding the Spanish Civil War, in which many Basques fought and died, and World War II, during which more than 30,000 Basque children were evacuated to France.

“We’re interested in how it’s remembered, what’s forgotten,” said Sandra Ott, co-director of the Center for Basque Studies, who is working on an ethnographic study of the post-liberation trials of French and Basque citizens who collaborated with German soldiers. “There are so many different ways [the time period] affected the Basque people.

Several of de Pablo’s colleagues from the University of the Basque Country, as well as scholars from the United Kingdom, Paris and Germany, will join representatives from universities across the United States at the conference. The papers they present will be compiled into a book published by the Center to be sent to more than 500 libraries nationwide. Ott expects the interdisciplinary aspects of the presentations to draw a varied audience.

“We’re not just dealing with Basque studies,” she said. “We’re talking about criminal justice, about history, about literature, about women’s issues. We’re a diverse group of researchers.”

The scholars will also have a chance to experience different aspects of northern Nevada by traveling to Lake Tahoe and Virginia City the weekend following the conference. De Pablo is looking forward to bringing others to the area he has been enjoying for the past several months.

“I love it,” he said of his time at the University. “It’s been the perfect opportunity.”

The Center for Basque Studies is a research and instructional institution that has published research on migration, nationalism, women, literature, political violence and more. It houses the largest collection of Basque-related literature outside of Europe.


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